"Why a Recall of Tainted Beef Didn't Include School Lunches"

"When health officials identified an outbreak of salmonella poisonings last summer, they traced the dangerous strain of salmonella to ground beef made at Beef Packers Inc., a major supplier to the National School Lunch Program.

At least 39 people reported getting sick in 11 states, and doctors found that the salmonella infections resisted many common antibiotics. By early August, the U.S. Department of Agriculture convened a committee of experts and urged Beef Packers to recall 825,769 pounds of ground beef made in June at its facility in Fresno.

The recall, announced by the government Aug. 6, covered only ground beef sent to certain retailers. In the days after it was announced, government and company spokesmen said meat sent to schools was not included. Documents obtained by USA TODAY through the Freedom of Information Act reveal a more complicated story — one that raises questions about whether the government took adequate steps to ensure that meat it bought for schoolchildren during the same period was safe."

Blake Morrison, Peter Eisler, and Anthony DeBarros report for USA TODAY December 2, 2009.

See Also:

"U.S. Health-Threat Response To Be Reviewed" (Washington Post)

Source: USA TODAY, 12/02/2009